Travel in the Americas for Star Alliance Gold Elite
Avianca Airlines (Colombia) and Copa Airlines (Panama) are two Star Alliance members with flight routes from several U.S. cities to airports in Central America, South America and Caribbean.
This post looks at samples some economy tickets from LAX and SFO on Avianca and Copa as elite miles earning tickets with Aegean Miles+Bonus and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. These frequent flyer programs require 24,000 to 40,000 elite qualifying miles to reach Gold Elite Status.
Aegean or Turkish Star Alliance Gold elite on cheap economy tickets (March 20, 2018).
Copa Airlines Economy E (100%) and Economy T (50%)
Copa Economy E earns 100% flight miles and Copa Economy T earns 50% flight miles in Aegean and Turkish frequent flyer programs.
Copa Airlines Economy T is commonly the lowest economy fare code for international flights from SFO and LAX to Central America, South America and Caribbean.
Avianca Airlines Economy S and Z (100%).
Avianca Economy S and Z booking codes earn 100% flight miles as elite miles in Aegean Airlines or Turkish Airlines.
The remainder of this post shows examples of ticket prices with Copa and Avianca on routes in the Americas earning elite miles.
San Francisco SFO – Panama City PTY – SJO San Jose, Costa Rica = 3,655 flight miles
3 economy ticket choices:
$150.13 one way Copa Economy T earns 50% flight miles = 1,828 elite miles in Aegean Miles+Bonus or Turkish Miles&Smiles.
$202.13 one way Copa Economy L earns 50% flight miles = 1,828 elite miles in Aegean Miles+Bonus or Turkish Miles&Smiles.
$231.13 one Copa Economy E earns 100% flight miles = 3,655 elite miles in Aegean Miles+Bonus or Turkish Miles&Smiles.
Ticket buyers have the choice between a $150.13 ticket price or $231.13 ticket price on the first itinerary. An additional $81 earns 2x elite miles. This flight may or may not be worth the additional cost to earn more miles.
In practical terms, the $150 ticket only has a 32 minute layover in PTY, which creates a high probability you will miss the flight connection.
The price difference for the other flight option with a 4.5 hour transit layover in PTY is only $29 between the cheapest Copa L booking class and the higher category Copa E booking class.
Earning an additional 1,827 elite miles for an additional $29 ticket price is less than 1.6 cents per elite qualification mile (EQM). This is great added value for relatively low cost to an elite status seeking Star Alliance traveler.
Copa Airlines $486.41 round trip economy E booking code
Los Angeles LAX – Panama City PTY – Punta Cana PUJ, Dominican Republic – PTY – LAX
LAX-PTY-PUJ-PTY-LAX = 7,993 flight miles = 7,993 elite miles in Aegean and Turkish frequent flyer programs.
$486.41 Mon April 16 – Mon April 23
This ticket earns elite miles at a rate slightly over 6 cents per EQM.
Tickets like these make it relatively inexpensive to earn Star Alliance Gold elite with Copa Airlines flights and the small qualification level requiring 12,000 to 40,000 elite miles.
Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite requires 24,000 Tier Miles + 4 Aegean/Olympic Airlines flight segments in a 12-month membership year. The membership year is 12 months from the date of your first qualifying flight or the date you received an elite status upgrade.
Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite renewal requires 24,000 Tier Miles or 12,000 Tier Miles + 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments.
Miles&Smiles Elite (Star Alliance Gold) = 40,000 Status Miles in 12 months. Upgrade from Classic Plus to Elite after earning 40,000 status miles in 12 months. Membership lasts 2 years. If you are not a resident of Turkey, Miles&Smiles Elite status (Star Alliance Gold) renewal takes 25,000 Status Miles in following 12 months or 37,500 Status Miles in 2 years.
Avianca Airlines New York JFK – Buenos Aires EZE
$772.31 round trip Avianca Economy Class Booking Code Z
JFK-SAL-LIM-EZE-LIM-BOG-JFK = 11,573 flight miles.
Wed May 9 – Wed May 16
Avianca economy Z earns 100% flight miles as elite qualification miles EQM in Aegean Miles+Bonus and Turkish Miles&Smiles for 11,573 EQM.
$772 for 11,573 EQM is about 6.7 cents per EQM. This is not a particularly great earning rate. Also, this flight itinerary does not get good flight reviews either.
The main point to remember is there are potential elite miles earning opportunities with flights in the Americas on Star Alliance members Avianca Airlines and Copa Airlines.
For travelers seeking Star Alliance Gold elite, these airlines are ones to keep in mind when there is a good fare sale.